Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Solar System Missions Update 2021-04

Here's my map of all active and future Solar System Missions as of April 1st 2021.

On April 1st Mars helicopter Ingenuity will likely already be standing on it's own legs, independent from Perseverance. The first flight is expected on the 11th. Next up will be the Chinese Tianwen-1 lander EDL to Utopia Planitia in May or June.

This month OSIRISREx will do one last Bennu close approach on April 6th before departing the asteroid towards Earth on May 5th. Parker Solar Probe has its eighth perihelion at 0.074 AU (~11 million km) on the 29th. Also this month NASA will probably select a lunar lander for the Artemis program.

New in the list of future missions is the Indian Shukrayaan Venus orbiter that will probably launch in 2024 if it happens. Finally, the Chinese Change'5 orbiter has reached the Earth/Sun L1 lagrange point.

Data, images and documentation are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository and the associated website.

[Dates corrected 2021-4-2]

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Solar System Missions Update 2021-03

Here's my map of all active and future Solar System Missions as of March 1st 2021.

After the excitement of last Month the following weeks will be a little more quiet. The next things to look forward to are one last Bennu close approach for OSIRISREx in April before departing the asteroid towards Earth in May, Perseverance deploying the Ingenuity helicopter on Mars, and the Chinese Tianwen-1 lander EDL in May.

New in the list of future missions is Blue Ghost, another commercial payload delivery from Firefly Aerospace in 2023.

Data, images and documentation are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository and the associated website.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Solar System Missions Update 2021-02

Here's my map of all active and future Solar System Missions as of February 1st 2021.

OK, it's on. Mars will celebrate New Year on February 7th, and to celebrate a virtual fireworks of Earthikans will arrive in the following days: The Emirates' Al Amal on the 9th, Chinese Tianwen-1 on the 10th (AFAIK) for orbit insertion, and finally USian Perseverance lands on our neighbor on the 18th.

On the 10th the Parker Solar Probe will have its fourth Venus gravity assist to further lower its perihelion, meanwhile Solar Orbiter will have its first perihelion at 0.5 AU this month. Further out at Jupiter Juno has the 32nd perijove, and it's mission has been extended until 2025, with some Galileian moon flybys even.

New in the list of future missions are Prime-1, another commercial payload delivery from Intuitive Machines in 2022, and NASAs Solar Cruiser, a solar sail that will launch in 2025 as a secondary payload with the interstellar mapper IMAP toward Earth/Sun L1

Data, images and documentation are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository and the associated website.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Space Observatories Update 2021-01

An update for the space observatories page with the recently launched GECAM A & B satellites, or Xiaoji and Xiaomu. The name stands for 'Gravitational wave high-energy Electromagnetic Counterpart All-sky Monitor, that's probably pretty self-descriptive. The list of planned missions also has quite a few updates.

The source data are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository, together with the included infographics.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Solar System Missions Update 2021-01

Here's my map of all active and future Solar System Missions as of January 1st 2021.

After delivering a Moon sample back to Earth, the Chinese Chang'e 5 mission is now headed to the Earth/Sun Lagrange point L1, and maybe further adventures beyond. Meanwhile, the asteroid sample return mission Hayabusa 2 has also delivered and also will go on to an extended mission with more asteroid flybys.

On the 17th the Parker Solar Probe will have its seventh perihelion at a distance of 0.095 AU, and the Mars flotilla of Perseverance, Al Amal and Tianwen is still en route to Mars, where they will land or insert into orbit in February.

Finally, if all announced launches actually happen, this year will see the most beyond-Earth launches since 1971, with as much as 9 by my count: The JWST to the Earth/Sun L2 Lagrange point, Chandrayaan 3, Luna 25, NOVA-C, Peregrine 1 (Moon landers), CAPSTONE, Artemis-1 (Moon orbiter), DART (NEO asteroid impact) and Lucy (Trojan asteroid flyby)

Data, images and documentation are available on my space exploration history GitHub repository and the associated website.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Moon phases 2021

This chart contains every days Moon phase for every day of the year 2021. The 2 lunar eclipses that happen this year are shaded, one partial eclipse in orange, and a total one in red.

Interactive sky map with planetary and lunar positions.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Planetary Elongation 2021

Overview of planetary elongations (angle between planet and Sun) for the whole year, as well as eclipses, full moons and apparent magnitude for every planet.

Check out my Planetary Elongation page with a bonus graph for the next decade as well as the same for ecliptic longitude.